2018 Miami Hurricane football projections on the Hour Glass
By John Luke McCord
After a long and rigorous run at Georgia, in the wild and competitive SEC, Mark Richt has found plenty of success and sunshine back at his alma mater. Just last season Miami made it to the ACC Conference title game and managed 10 wins. In fact, Richt and the Canes would likely have been in the CFB playoff with a win over Clemson that day. Still, Richt was named ACC Coach of the Year. His 19 wins in his first two seasons in Coral Gables have expectations riding high coming into this third.
Like many of his Georgia teams, this Miami squad is talented and led by a skilled and savvy quarterback. Malik Rosier threw for over 3,100 yards last season, and his 18.2 Hour Glass QB stamp is good enough for 10th best among all power 5 signal callers (2nd best in ACC). No doubt Rosier was a big time difference-maker for the Canes last season, but his team will need him to be even better this season.
Though Miami returns the third-most talented roster in the ACC, according their Hour Glass 3-year recruiting stamp, plenty of productive players will have to be replaced offensively. How will the receiver group look next season without last year’s two leading pass catchers in Braxton Berrios and Chris Herndon? That will depend the ability for guys like Ahmmon Richards, Lawrence Cager, Dayall Harris and others to step up. And some of it will be whether or not Rosier can cut down on his interceptions, which he threw 14 of last season. As he moves from his first season as a starter to year two, that is to be expected.
DeeJay Dallas is a name to remember on the offensive side of the ball. Last season he began the season as a freshman with the skills to play any spot that put the ball in his hands. He split time as a receiver, returner and running back, but was moved to RB full time when Mark Walton was lost to injury. Now, with 41 in-game carries and an offseason under his belt, he looks like a potential star in the backfield. But don’t sleep on his versatility out of the backfield. Speaking of running back, returning starter Travis Homer is also back this season after coming some 30 yards short of reaching the 1,000-yard mark in 2017. He took over as the starter when Walton went down last season. Don’t forget the Canes also signed a 5-star, and potential instant-impact, Lorenzo Lingard at RB, as well.
The top five tacklers from a season ago all return in 2018 for what should be a stout defensive unit. Interestingly enough, all three levels of that defense, are represented in that group of five players. Safety, and defensive MVP of last season, Jaquan Johnson will be back after recording a team-highs 96 tackles and four interceptions. Shaq Quarterman figures to provide big-time leadership and production, as well, considering his experience and production at linebacker.
Up front the Canes will get a much-needed lift in the form of Gerald Willis, who will return to game competition in 2018, as changed man and a willing senior leader. All in all, Manny Diaz should have a solid back seven on defense this season. The key will be developing playmaker, as well as depth on the defensive line.
HG analytics pick: 12-0, 1st in ACC Coastal (loss to Clemson in ACC title game)
My pick: 10-2, 1st in ACC Coastal (loss to FSU in ACC title game)
2017 Miami Projections on the Hour Glass – 11-1; finished 10-1 (100 percent accuracy)
Hour Glass National Recruiting Ranking: 16th – Inside our Realistic College Football National Championship Line on our talent index.
National Coaching Rank for Mark Richt on HG Scale: 13th (Richt Stamp at 13) – Average coaching value for 2018 set at 3.75.
Returning Miami quarterback play rated 10th in the country out of 130 teams. Average quarterback stamp nationally for 2018 is 8.3. Miami has a stamp of 18.2.